For the second time against El Reno, Chickasha's second half performance made the biggest difference.
The sixth-ranked Lady Chicks (18-4) enter the postseason on a winning run after claiming a 57-42 victory in El Reno (11-11) on Tuesday. It's their second win against the Lady Indians this season.
Whereas last time it only emphasized the victory, this time around it saved them.
"We didn't have a very good first half and didn't shoot the ball well in the first quarter," Head Coach Kirk Reimers said. "I felt like we finally made some things work. We had made a little bit of a run, and we tried a few new things defensively on sideline inbounds plays. We got some good things from that."
El Reno led by as much as six points in the first half before Chickasha responded. Reimers admitted the Lady Indians caught his team off guard by implementing a 3-2 zone defense that made inside passing lanes tough to locate.
When Chickasha finally did crack El Reno's shell, senior Dominique Golightly was the tip of the knife.
Golightly finished the night with a game-high 25 points to go with nine rebounds. She scored seven straight in the second quarter to give Chickasha its first lead of the game, 16-15.
Later when El Reno had retaken the advantage, Golightly stuck with a long three-pointer attempt for a put-back jumper to tie the game up again. A fast-break layup from senior Tandra King, who ended the night with 17 points and seven steals, put Chickasha decisively ahead.
"It was just about staying steady throughout the whole game and waiting for that chance to make the run," Reimers said. "It was the same thing we did last time we played them."
El Reno came out hot, taking a 9-5 lead through Taleigh Davis' baseline jumper and a layup the next time down. Davis finished with 12 points for the Lady Indians.
A three-pointer from Hayden Freeman took El Reno's lead to six points as Chickasha struggled to get the lid off of the rim.
Even when they managed to string a few shots together, Davis and El Reno came roaring back. Her three-pointer in the second quarter halted Chickasha's run and tied the game up at 18 apiece.
Chickasha was slowly figuring things out at the defensive end, however, and Reimers picked out substitutes Meredith Noland and Jaycie Brown as a big reason why.
"I felt those two came in and helped us stay within striking distance and not let the game get out of hand," Reimers said. "We didn't shoot the ball well and were still just three points down."
El Reno's shots stopped falling, and senior Taylor Sylvester's 11 rebounds helped ensure their chances were limited. Sylvester also added five blocks and four assists to her six points.
The post-season begins for Chickasha against Astec Charter at home on Saturday. The girls tip-off first at 6:30 p.m.